Boyle's Law

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Robert Boyle (1627-1691) was born in Munster, Ireland on January 25, 1627. Boyle's greatest contibution to the history of chemistry is Boyle's Law, which states that...

"For a fixed amount of gas kept at a fixed temperature, P and V are inversely proportional."

It was first written down in his book The Spring and Weight of the Air. What the law really means is that at a constant temperature, the pressure and volume of a gas are inversely proportional. This is useful in dealing with gases in experiments, it's vital to know the pressure of the system and the volume of gas are opposite to one another. When one increases the other decreases and visa versa.

Boyle's equation for the law is PV=K, where P is the pressure of the system,V represents the volume of the gas, and K represents a constant value of the pressure and volume.

Other Accomplishments

Boyle's life consisted of many different types of science. He worked with physics, chemistry and was also an alchemist who believed in the transmutation of metals. The manipulation of metal was a common goal in Boyle's time. Many alchemists spent their whole careers trying to turn lead or mercury into gold.
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Boyle was educated very early in his life at Eton University. He knew how to speak Latin, Greek, and French at a very young age. He also traveled around Europe with a tutor. Boyle's first contribution to science was his book The Spring and Weight of the Air; it was published in 1660. In it he designed a new air pump that was much more efficient for experiments and proved through experiments that men needed air to survive. Boyle is also very well know for originating the concept of the modern element. He believed that an element was something pure. A substance that could not be broken down into any simpler forms than it consisted of. This eventually morphed into the modern theory on elements which is basically the same as Boyle's.

Discovery of Boyle's Law
In 1662 the second edition of The Spring and Weight of the Air was published. The book contained the Pressure - Volume Inverse Relationship Theory and equation that coincides with it. The way Boyle discovered his theory was by putting mercury in a J-tube,(a type of tube Boyle used in experiments) and taking measurements of the volume of the gas when he raised or lowered the amount of pressure. There has been and still is some controversy about whether or not the law should be named after Boyle since his assistant Robert Hooke preformed most of the experiments.

Boyle was also involved in a secret scientific group called the Royal Society. The Society met in London and Oxford and consisted of mathematicians and scientists. In 1676, he told the Royal Society that he was trying to turn quicksilver, aka mercury, into gold. He also conducted other experiments that involved gold and other substances. He discovered a operational method of classifying substances, using vegetable indicators and acids.

Below are some videos and links to great examples of Boyle's Law:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SRCYjrLlN9o
http://www.woodrow.org/teachers/ci/1992/Boyle.html



Written by Josh Bogner& Andrew Bryce.